It's standard operating procedure in the City of Indianapolis, but in other cities there is something called a U.S. Attorney and FBI agents who work to weed out corrupt politicians who are accepting bribes in exchange for handing out hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to private real estate developers. Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon (D) was arrested today on public corruption charges uncovered through an FBI sting. The U.S. Attorney's Office in North Carolina says that the investigation began years ago when federal law enforcement officers were tipped off about alleged illegal activities undertaken by Cannon, whose city hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Cannon, a former city council member, was elected mayor last November after President Obama named his successor, Anthony Foxx, as Secretary of the Department of Transportation.
During the course of that probe, the mayor allegedly accepted bribes from undercover FBI agents on five separate occasions, in exchange for access to city officials responsible for planning, zoning and permitting.
A criminal complaint said Cannon is accused of soliciting and accepting more than $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room and the use of a luxury apartment as bribes.
During the last encounter, according to the U.S. attorney's office, he accepted $20,000 in cash.
If convicted on all the charges, he faces 20 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines . . .
Cannon was also accused of accepting $12,500 from an undercover agent to help him develop a feminine hygiene product called "Hers" to be marketed and sold in the United States. In exchange, Cannon offered to help the undercover agent -- posing as a business manager for a venture capital company -- get the necessary permits to open a nightclub.
During the meeting, an undercover agent told Cannon: "You know, again whatever you can do to get our application moved up towards the top, uh, business license and things like that, that we need."
According to the complaint, Cannon responded: "Yeah, not a problem."Separately, Mercury News reports that the FBI also conducted a series of raids in San Francisco and Sacramento that included the arrest of State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) on public corruption charges. Yee had been expected to be the Democratic Party's candidate for Secretary of State this year. Yee's arrest coincided with the arrest of a Honk Kong gang leader, Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, on a variety of racketeering and drug-related charges. Federal officials would not say whether Yee's arrest was linked to Chow. Yee is the third California state lawmaker facing criminal charges this year. In February, State Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) was indicted on bribery charges. In January, State Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) was convicted of voter fraud and perjury stemming from a 2010 indictment.
UPDATE: An updated report by the Mercury News indicates that arms trafficking is among the charges Yee is facing. Naturally, Yee's legislative record is hostile to gun owner rights.
The New York Observer has details on an FBI raid of the offices of Bill Scarborough, a Democratic state assemblyman from Queens today. Early reports indicate that the feds are investigating discrepancies in Scarborough's travel expense reporting.